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Unhappy with the new Translations

I find it really disappointing that Duolingo now decides sentences in an article are done and you can no longer translate them, just read them. Instead you can only translate bits and pieces of an article. Firstly I find this annoying because when you are translating a whole article, you can get a sense of what is being written about and how it is written. You ease into an article and get into a flow. I know you can still read the previous sentences and see the translations, but I don't think it will help as much as having to translate every sentence yourself. Secondly, as before, the harder the sentence the smaller the number of people who have translated it. This means that very quickly all the easy sentences are already marked as translated, leaving only harder sentences. So you have to jump into a difficult translation cold turkey. I know this is better for Duolingo as previously, by the end of a long article there were very few translations for harder/longer sentences, but this new system seems really unhelpful for learners. :(

October 10, 2012



These are huge problems I think for my learning process - plus this method does not allow one to correct sometimes glaring (or not) errors which have made it to the top of the pile in a previous translation. Not to mention that vocab retention virtually disappears. When you read or translate an entire article you get reinforcement in every passing paragraph without so much as a flashcard or a vocab list. Ironically enough, the same model duolingo uses for practice sentences.

Duolingo could combine the sentences it needs translated with others so that you have to translate both at the same time if the issue is people skipping things. Or make the ones in need of more translation worth double or triple points and extra credit for skill sets.

The other issue is that when learning to translate (I write this as someone who has been trained both in conversational language and in translation) one of the real skills is to pick up the tone of a text. When picking and choosing from tiny texts it is virtually impossible to learn that skill and it is one not just needed by translators but by conversationalists and casual readers.


I have done only a few translations under this new system and will probably do less and less. I used to learn a lot more because I would begin to translate at the top and do my best to continue translating all the way down the page – this meant I learned, not only about a subject, and all of its various word, but I also learned many words around the subject. Sequence works better for me.


I agree. There is a context that you can grasp from going through an entire article. You may not be able to translate all sentence but you will be able to understand the flow and tone of the article which lends itself to a less disjointed translation. Another point is that building confidence in a language comes in small steps. As you work to your limit on the Duolingo exercises you are bound to come up to difficult sections. At this point it is refreshing to go to the translating section for practice and/or testing yourself. My point is that in the long run if both sides of the Duolingo experience are frustrating they will lose fans. Good comments on an important insight.


All of these comments make so much sense, so can we see some changes please? Duolingo is usually responsive, so don't let us down. C'est importante pour tous le monde ici.


Thanks! We will fix this soon.


I haven't done a translation since the new system came in for the reasons you have mentioned whereas before I tried to do one a day in both the languages I'm learning. It's been compounded by the irritating outlining of individual words which they said they would fix and haven't. I go to a translation, find all the easy sentences - those within my capability - have been completed (often with obviously stilted or inaccurate translations) then find the words on the next untranslated sentence are outlined so it's very difficult to get an idea of the flow of the sentence and give up. It's a pity because part of the enjoyment before came from suddenly realising that I actually comprehended a complex sentence.


I couldn't agree more. I have complained in the past about Duolingo awarding too many points for simple sentences and not enough for the more difficult (or just longer) sentences. If it is a quest for points, people will choose the low-hanging fruit. And if this is Duolingo's "solution" to that problem - think again guys!

For myself, I do the full translation from top to bottom (time permitting), so it is especially frustrating to find that all the easy bits are locked, or to come back later and find I can't finish the translation I started the day before.

Perhaps you need two types of translation. Translation exercises for learners that are part of the lesson plan, and those you want translated by people with some ability and skill in the language. Maybe you don't award the points to a Duolinguist for the second type of translation, until they have completed 80% of the sentences with bonus marks for a 100% translation.

And here's a sentence for Duolingo to translate:

Je suis mécontent!


I also prefer to translate in sequence, but as long as it's set up as it is, there are some ways you can make it work for you: (1) people often skip the long sentences thinking they're harder; in fact, many turn out to be easier (2) trying to translate the more difficult sentences will help you improve faster than going for the easy ones, and unlike school days, you don't lose anything but time. BTW, you can still edit those that are "complete" if you see something wrong, though you don't get credit.


As this great insight is now dormant, I've "bumped" it here: http://duolingo.com/#/comment/57767 along with a suggestion that might satisfy those who want to translate the whole article.


Good points. I, too, would like to translate more of an article.


@Toujoursgai The problem is that some people need to translate through the whole article to understand the context, as it is now you best hope that you get a new document and you like it.

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